Off to the Ottawa Linux Symposium, send me a text or Facebook message to get in touch

Headlines for Thursday:

  1. Dealing with frustration (328 words)
  2. Not a geek of all trades (117 words)
  3. Writing for work, writing for fun (158 words)

181 words written.
6 papers skimmed.



1. Dealing with frustration: 00:02

How do you deal with frustration? I think I'm getting better and better at it, but we could always use tips. Here's today's story:

Today, I decided not to go through with my trip to Somers, New York. I was supposed to present a poster about my research. I was looking forward to having lots of interesting conversations, too. I had been having a hard time figuring out how to get there and where to stay on my (atom-sized!) budget, and the intranet bloggers were *really* helpful, but... no go. A cold, hard look at the trade-offs, and it really didn't make sense to go.

I started crying. I didn't know exactly why, and I knew I shouldn't be too disappointed, but I was crying anyway. Yes, I *was* disappointed! I was looking forward to meeting people! Boo.

So I locked myself in the bathroom and started typing. I needed to get to the root of why I felt frustrated so that I could find out what the problems were and figure out how to fix them. There are almost always multiple reasons for frustration, and they can be difficult to untangle and separate.

But you *need* to untangle your frustrations if you want to solve them. Ask, "Why do I feel frustrated?" Keep asking why. Then ask what you can do about it. And then, when you've figured out the first part, then go back to te problem and consider this: assuming the first part was fixed, would that be it or would there be anything else? Lather, rinse, repeat.

While you're analyzing your frustrations, you might even recognize the silver lining that's always hiding in there somewhere. You can find creative ways to channel your frustration into solving problems or preventing them from happening. Give it a try next time you're in the grasp of ta strong emotion - figure it out!

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-select-buffer - Command: Pop to the emacs-w3m buffers selection window up.

2. Not a geek of all trades: 20:56

The cooling system hums softly as cars zoom past the second-floor hotel window, not entirely muffled by the medium-weight curtains. My soles tingle slightly from the short walk back from dinner.

Another day. The second day of the Ottawa Linux Symposium. The analysis of kernel contributors was interesting. I wonder how the developers of Emacs can be analyzed and graphed, too. It's a detached sort of wonder. I don't feel the urge to go out there and do it myself. It's a very strange feeling, knowing that there's a cool idea but not being interested in doing it yourself.

And it feels immensely liberating.

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-form-set-number - Function: Change parent w3m buffer in form buffers

3. Writing for work, writing for fun: 23:57

I did a fair bit of work on my thesis today, which makes me happy. The best way to keep myself energized about my thesis (and sane!) is to alternate working on it with other things. Today, after a good case of writing envy, I decided to spend some of my leisure time writing...

... and promptly ended up 900 words into the first of two mini-books: a grass-roots guide around the social computing services we're playing with at IBM, and a cookbook of interesting hacks that people have made or are interested in making. I can do both. I know where the stories are, I have fun writing about them, and I know that there's a need for these books.

What else did I do for fun? Read academic papers about different topics - expertise, business, creativity...


Random Emacs symbol: muse-html-insert-anchor - Function: Insert an anchor, either around the word at point, or within a tag.


  1. E-mail to Paul Wilson
  2. Reply to Mark Chignell - sent today
  3. Reply to Mark Chignell - sent today
  4. Reply to Karen Quinn Fung - sent today
  5. E-mail to Mark Chignell
  6. E-mail to Michael Roche
  7. Reply to suzanne, - sent yesterday
  8. Reply to Sam Watkins - sent today

Inbox items: 15 as of 23:42